A - Thanks for the question. I know that this can be quite a confusing issue for many Catholics. The Catholic Church does not believe in the rapture theory.
Let us look for a bit at the rapture and where it came from. It started in a dispensationalist movement within Protestantism. Dispensationalism was created in the late 1800s and popularized in the early 1900s by the Scofield Reference Bible. It divides the times through the Bible, into the present, and the future as periods of history (called dispensations) where God has a different kind of relationship with His people in each period. Thus, it has a heavy emphasis on trying to study what will happen in the future.
A dispensationalist view of Scripture is literal, as in word-for-word. The current dispensation started at Pentecost and will continue until the rapture, where Jesus will come secretly and take up all the "saved" into heaven with Him.
After the Rapture, all those left on the earth will face a time of tribulation and then a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth in Jerusalem. This comes from a certain reading of the book of Revelation. This literal reading makes for a kind of third coming, because Jesus comes for a second time in the rapture then again to set up his earthly kingdom.
The Catholic Church teaches that Christ came first 2,000 years ago and will come only once at the end of the world to conquer evil and end time on earth as we know it. There is no rapture. This theory was started by a Scottish visionary and has no basis in Scripture or Tradition.
When will this happen? Nobody knows and if they think they do they are fooling themselves:
**“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (3:8).
**“You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” (Lk 12:20)
Here is what the Catechism says:
674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".
675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.
677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching.Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned.Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."Peace.
Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. - 1Thes 5:1-2I think that says it all.
For more on this I recommend the following books:
Will Catholics be Left Behind? - Carl Olson
The Rapture Trap - Paul Thigpen